Back to top

[ Skip to main content ]

Date published: 08th May 2013 | Type: Media release

The New Zealand Drug Foundation today made its submission to the Health Select Committee on the Psychoactive Substances Bill saying it was a good bill but there are improvements to be made.

The bill, which clarifies the law around substances like synthetic cannabis and party pills, is a world first attempt to regulate the market around legal highs, Drug Foundation Executive Director Ross Bell said.

"Given concern around the harm these substances are causing in our communities, the bill needs to explicitly state the legislation is about harm-reduction and health," Mr Bell said.

"Harm reduction and health need to be at the forefront of policymakers’ and politicians’ minds when making decisions about the design and delivery of this bill.

"Enshrining this purpose in the primary legislation future proofs the bill and ensures this overarching goal is given precedence over competing priorities."

Mr Bell said expanding the collection of health information about these substances and making that available to the public was also essential.

"New Zealand has been notoriously slack in collecting and sharing good data on the effects these substances are having and we need to become much more proactive in that respect.

"As well as maintaining a register of approved products, data on the health and social impacts of all approved and unapproved products should be kept and made available so the public can make informed decisions."

The Drug Foundation also recommended that all penalties related to the possession of substances be removed. This includes carrying a product or suspicion of carrying a product.

"Penalties serve no useful purpose in the bill and risk expanding criminal sanctions against young people in particular."

Mr Bell said that despite this, New Zealand Drug Foundation strongly supports this bill.

"While other countries are still blindly banning drug after drug, the Psychoactive Substances Bill puts New Zealand ahead of the industry’s game. It is a pragmatic and innovative attempt to address a complex problem.

"We hope the committee act on our recommendations and those of other community groups to strengthen the bill and increase its ability to promote health and reduce harm."

Check out these related articles: See more articles

Police discretion for drug offences needs greater health funding

Greater funding for health and social services is urgently needed for changes to Misuse of Drugs Act to be effective....

Read More

How synthetics became a public health crisis

How we got here was not by accident, but due to a series of legal changes with unintended consequences. Samuel Andrews explains how the synt......

Read More

Government action on synthetics drugs crisis applauded

The Government’s response to synthetic drug deaths is welcomed by the Drug Foundation. This is an important step towards treating drug use a......

Read More
MoS Nov 2018 thumbnail shamubeel eaqub

Q&A: Costing drug policy options

Economist Shamubeel Eaqub talks to Emma Espiner about a new report that makes the case for a health-based approach to drug policy as not onl......

Read More
Share:
e substance newsletter promotional thumbnail
Subscribe to email updates

Get regular news, analysis and commentary on drugs issues in New Zealand. Free.

Sign up now!

Did You Know resources thumbnail
Talk drugs with young people

Did You Know helps you talk with a young person about drugs -- videos, posters and conversation starter.

Get started